Who we are

AO Spine is the leading global academic community for innovative education and research in spine care, inspiring lifelong learning and improving patients' lives.

AO Spine is the premier knowledge provider in spine surgery and at the forefront of education and research.

Then and now

AO Spine’s rich and proud heritage
Back in 1958, four visionary Swiss surgeons shared a common goal: to conduct research into bone healing within a structured, coordinated study group. It was effectively the birth of the AO (Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen—literally translated, “working group for bone fusion issues”). 

Year over year, its scope has expanded to keep pace with rapid developments in musculoskeletal surgery and patient care, and in 1984 the AO Foundation was formally established.

By the late 1990s, a group of spine surgeons realized the potential of a specialist organization with a focus on spine. Headed by John Webb, Max Aebi, and Paul Pavlov, and supported by the AO's industrial partners, their initiative led to the creation of an AO Specialty Board for Spine Surgery in 2000. Its mission was to grow spine expertise as a key competence of the AO Foundation, promoting and supporting the individual needs of spine surgeons. 

Following a highly successful pilot period, AO Spine was formally established in 2003. Today, our community of surgeons, researchers, and allied spine professionals is over 30,000 strong. We are continuing to grow, taking us to unprecedented heights through innovative programs, fresh ideas, and a team totally committed to spine.

AO Spine timeline

AO Spine Chairpersons

John Webb

Jan 2001–Dec 2002

Max Aebi

Jan 2003–Dec 2005

Michael Janssen

Jan 2006–Apr 2009

Luiz Vialle

May 2009–Jul 2012

Jeff Wang

Jeffrey Wang

Aug 2012–Jun 2015

Dan Riew

Jul 2015–Jun 2018

Shanmuganathan Rajasekaran

Jul 2018–Jun 2021

Asdrubal Falavigna

Jul 2021–

AO Spine has a global network of over 30,000 spine professionals. Learn more about our exclusive member privileges.

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The only international spine congress of its kind.

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AO Annual Report

Discover AO Spine’s 2022 achievements in the AO Annual Report 2022—available to read online and for download today.

Our organization

View the elected officials of the boards and commissions.


Discover current employment opportunities.